A few minutes with…Mike Komisarek
|11.13.08 at 11:44 am ET|
Mike Komisarek is one of those guys that you worship for his hard hitting and “on the edge” play if he’s wearing your home team’s sweater, and you absolutely detest if he’s skating for the hated rivals. The 26-year-old Canadiens defenseman has been one of the main attraction pugilists during the most recent editions of “Puck Wars” between the Bruins and Habs, and he’s looking forward to another knock-down, drag-out battle between Northeast Division foes tonight.
–Speaking of the Northeast Division, Yahoo!’s top hockey dog, Puck Daddy, wonders this morning if the B’s division is shaping up to be the best in the NHL this season. I’d have to wholeheartedly agree.
–In other link news, hubhockey.com has created an excellent Facebook Page dedicated to an NHL All-Star write in campaign for Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas now that All-Star fan voting has begun. You can vote for Thomas here. The B’s netminder has had a strong showing thus far in the voting and currently ranks third, but is lagging way, way behind Habs goalie Carey Price. It seems that the Canadiens fans have cornered the market on cyber-ballot stuffing. The current vote would have Canadiens’ players at each of the six starting positions in the Eastern Conference All-Star starting lineup. I’m going to love watching how the NHL is planning on handling this one.
–A handful of Bruins players skated this morning in a brief workout including Shane Hnidy, Petteri Nokelainen, Stephane Yelle and Matt Hunwick.
Anyway, here’s a few minutes with Komisarek this morning, who looks like he’s already anticipating another round in his ongoing skirmish with Milan Lucic:
How do you feel like the team has been playing as of late? MK: The biggest thing is that the expectations have been so high. We haven’t accomplished or won anything yet. We’ve gotten off to a great start, but nothing has been accomplished yet, and I think we get ourselves in trouble when we rely strictly on our talent, speed and skill up front. What’s given us success, especially last year, was playing well without the puck and taking pride in our defense.
With the coach that we’ve had, that’s what he’s always stressed to us and our team identity has always been to play solid defensively. I think we got away from that a little bit in Toronto and started playing some run and gun hockey back and forth, and we’re not going to win many games like that.
What have been the year-to-year changes in Carey Price’s game? MK: Pricey is sort of in better shape and he’s gotten into better habits. His work ethic is unbelievable and he’s always working out and doing cardio now. He’s eating better now and he looks good and seems to have more energy back there, and he looks a little bit quicker. Everyone saw last year what he can do with his talent and God-given ability, but he took it upon himself this summer to come into camp in the best shape possible and sort of maximize his potential. He wants to be the best and you can see that hunger and drive when he comes to the rink.
There’s a little more firepower with Tanguay and a little more punch with Laraque this season. How have those guys added and adjusted to the team identity? MK: I think those guys have fit in really well. They’re great guys. We’ve always had good chemistry and you try not to tweak too much. Those guys have come in and fit right in. Big George is that mean, tough, big physical guy on the ice, but off the ice you couldn’t have found a better teammate. The same with Langer and Tanguay.
There’s a lot of busting each others’ chops and getting on everybody’s case. I can’t think of one particular story, but those guys have fit in very well.
Is there any change to strategy when you’re playing a team like Boston that’s coming into their second game in back-to-back nights? MK: Not really. We know they got in late last night, but they’re playing really well and we got a chance to watch some of the [Blackhawks] game. It seems like they’re rolling three lines and it seems like they have a balanced attack and they have some guys that are really playing with confidence.
So I guess any time you play a team that’s on a back-to-back you want to jump on them early and stay on them and not back off. We should be the fresher team.
Has it surprised you at all how well the Bruins have started off after really gelling against your team in the playoffs last year? MK: They’re a talented team and I think with [Patrice] Bergeron back he’s really the heart and soul guy on their team. He’s helped them out tremendously. These are divisional games and there’s a lot of history going back with [the Bruins], especially over the last few years with the playoffs. These matchups are always very physical and you can almost see the hatred on the ice watching these games.
Are you guys better this year? MK: I think we’ve made some adjustments this year with George, Alex and Lang. Those guys, we have three or four solid lines that can put the puck in the net and are a solid threat every time they step on the ice. I think on paper we’re definitely better, but it’s up to us to come together and peak at the right time.
Physical games and feeling hatred on the ice…are those your kind of games? MK: You’ve got to love it. Sometimes there are games during the year where teams aren’t very physical and they really back off. Then there’s other games when teams initiate [contact]. Being a big guy and a physical player, you’ve got to love those games.